Does Peyton Manning need another Super Bowl ring to prove his legacy?

Although Peyton Manning says he can’t have a legacy at the age of 37 the statistics seem to speak otherwise. We’ve heard the records all season but as a reminder:

  • Manning is the league’s only 4 time MVP and NFL’s active leader in nearly every relevant category.
  • NFL all-time record of 55 touchdown and over 5,500 yards.
  • Has had the most 4,000+ yard seasons with 13.
  • In NFL history he is only surpassed by Brett Farve as the most winningest quarterback and among active quarterbacks he is the leader with 167 wins.
Dan-Marino

Dan Marino (Photo Credit: smashinglists.com)

When asking this question of a legacy the first person that should come to everyone’s mind is Dan Marino. Did he have a legacy after never winning a Super Bowl? The answer most experts would say would be yes. He set the bar for quarterbacks. He was the first to throw over 4,000 yards and have over 40 touchdowns in one season. This was just in his second year in 1984 with 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns. He had a total of 6 seasons with over 4,000 yards, third in the NFL.

The second name to remember is Warren Moon who also has never won a Super Bowl but is tied with John Elway and Dan Marino for Pro Bowl selections (9) as well as being on the most 4,000 yard season list as well with 4 seasons. It’s safe to say there was some heavy competition in 1994 considering both Marino and Moon had 4,000+ yard seasons but 49ers’ Steve Young won the MVP with six touchdowns and 325 passing yards in that Super Bowl.

If Marino and Moon are considered ‘legacy quarterbacks’ then Manning certainly has to be after surpassing many of Marino and Moon’s records, or in most cases the entire realm of quarterbacks and obviously winning a Super Bowl already.

What would be considered the only debating factor for Manning’s legacy is what he could do with less. The Denver Broncos are the first in the history of the NFL to have over three players to have over 10 touchdowns. They have five specifically. That also begs the question are these receivers so successful because of Manning’s abilities or is Manning successful because of the talent of his receivers?

It is the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ debate that next season may be answered seeing as there could be several changes in the offense. Specifically the possibility of key running back Knowshon Moreno not being resigned.

If Manning can do more with less for the remaining of his career then there shouldn’t be a doubt in anyone’s mind that he is a legacy quarterback regardless of his Super Bowl status. What is shocking is that despite all of his record breaking he said during Super Bowl media week that he hasn’t reached his full potential.

There’s a scene in the movie Moneyball where Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is reflecting on his season after losing the World Series. His assistant Peter Brand (Johah Hill) shows Beane a clip of a 240 pound catcher, Jeremy Brown who was terrified of running to second base because he was so slow. The clip shows Brown rounding first and tripping while everyone is laughing at him and looking confused. He was so focused on making it to second base that he didn’t see that he had actually hit a homerun.

“How could you not be romantic about baseball,” Beane says after seeing the player embarrassingly continues to run the bases. Brand was comparing this iconic scene in baseball to the success the team had made that season even though they had not won the World Series.

We get to witness history in the making regardless of the outcome Sunday. Just by looking at what the Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have overcame this season it is valid to ask, “how could you not be romantic?”

Denver Broncos 24 vs Seattle Seahawks 20

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